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Sage Hospitality's CTO Matt Schwartz on Infusing AI into Your Hotel’s Tech Stack

The must hear interview with Matt Schwartz, CTO of Sage, is a comprehensive deep dive through every facet of hotel tech from marketing tech to cyber security, labor management and everything in between.

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Jordan Hollander in Operations

Last updated April 02, 2024

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Sage Hospitality is a trailblazer in hospitality, boasting 40 years of innovation and growth. Led by Chief Technology Officer Matt Schwartz, Sage has revolutionized its IT department, turning it into a profit center with cutting-edge tech like Microsoft Power BI, AI, VR, and robotics. This forward-thinking approach has streamlined operations and fortified cybersecurity. With approximately 65 hotels and 40 restaurants nationwide, Sage offers a diverse portfolio of branded and independent properties. Beyond hotel management, it encompasses restaurant concepts, investments, and in-house design, providing a comprehensive suite of services. What truly distinguishes Sage is its multifaceted expertise in hotel management, restaurant operations, investment, and design. This holistic approach sets it apart, giving Sage a competitive edge in the market. Sage Hospitality embodies innovation, growth, and expertise. With its tech focus, commitment to expansion, and diverse service offerings, Sage is poised for continued success, setting the standard for excellence in hospitality.

 

 

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Sage Hospitality's Killer Tech Stack

Discover the tech stack Matt Schwartz has developed at Sage Hospitality, designed to elevate guest experience and streamline operations:  From CRM to immersive VR experiences, explore the tools reshaping hospitality.

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Other Tech Tools in the Sage Hospitality Arsenal

Matt and his team are constantly seeking out the most innovative solutions in the market whether that's leveraging augmented reality to sell rooms, finding ways to leverage AI throughout the operation or tapping world renowned cyber security experts to deter an onslaught of hack attempts.

  • Apple Vision Pro: Matt is excited about the Apple Vision Pro, a virtual reality device that he believes will enhance guest experiences and training at their properties.
  • Crowdstrike: Matt mentions using Crowdstrike for cybersecurity.
  • Arctic Wolf: Matt mentions using Arctic Wolf for network monitoring in their cybersecurity efforts.
  • Abnormal Security: Matt mentions using Abnormal Security for email security in their cybersecurity efforts.
  • Okta: Matt mentions using Okta for single sign-on and multi-factor authentication in their cybersecurity efforts.
  • OpenAI: Matt mentions using OpenAI for integrating ChatGPT on top of their data for easier access to information.
  • Box.com: Matt discusses using Box.com for document storage and collaboration, mentioning their AI assistant that learns from 40 years of internal files.
  • Zoom + AI assistant: Matt mentions using Zoom for web conferencing and phones, with an AI assistant that helps summarize meetings and take action items.

Business intelligence and analytics focus

In today's hospitality landscape, technology-driven business intelligence and analytics are pivotal. They enable informed decision-making and propel business success, as evidenced in Sage Hospitality's podcast. By harnessing data from diverse sources like hotels, restaurants, and guest feedback, organizations gain insights into operations, market trends, and customer preferences. This informs strategic decisions, enhances processes, and drives revenue growth. Understanding guest preferences and behavior is crucial. Data analysis helps tailor offerings to meet customer expectations, fostering loyalty and positive reviews. Analytics identify market trends and risks, allowing businesses to stay competitive and adapt swiftly. Sage's CTO emphasizes delivering actionable insights in digestible formats, empowering teams to make informed decisions in real-time using advanced tech like ChatGPT. Investing in technology and skilled professionals for data analytics is vital for hospitality success. Sage Hospitality's approach showcases how leveraging data insights drives innovation and sustainable growth in a dynamic market.

Solving the data integration challenge

Sage Hospitality's use of Microsoft Power BI and Salesforce CRM illustrates the power of data integration in driving business growth. By consolidating data into a centralized platform with Power BI, they optimize operations, enhance guest experiences, and boost revenue through informed decision-making. Their CRM efforts unite guest data from multiple hotels, improving accuracy and enabling targeted marketing. Upgrading to Salesforce and integrating additional sources expanded their contactable guest records, attracting new hotels and owners. Integrating reservation, WiFi, and booking data allows for personalized guest experiences and targeted marketing campaigns, increasing engagement and loyalty. Sage Hospitality prioritizes cybersecurity to protect guest data and maintain trust. Robust measures and continuous monitoring mitigate the risk of data breaches, safeguarding their reputation. Data integration drives innovation and sustainable success. Embracing it as a strategic priority enables businesses to deliver exceptional guest experiences and foster revenue growth in the long term.

The future of AI in hospitality

Labor shortages and rising costs are common, AI plays a pivotal role in enhancing productivity, as discussed in Sage Hospitality's podcast. AI tools like Microsoft Office 365, Zoom's AI assistant, and Box.com's collaboration features streamline workflows and boost communication among associates, improving efficiency. Moreover, AI-driven labor management systems like Hotel Effectiveness and Heath on Track help Sage Hospitality optimize staffing levels, balancing service quality with profitability. Embracing AI aligns with Sage's strategy of using technology to drive innovation and operational excellence, leading to sustained success in a competitive market. However, it's crucial to tailor AI implementation to specific needs and goals, addressing targeted challenges rather than seeking a universal solution. AI enhances productivity and efficiency, offering a competitive edge in today's data-driven landscape. Sage Hospitality's approach demonstrates how strategic AI adoption can drive innovation, improve operations, and foster long-term success in the industry.

Finding the balance of tech within the guest experience

Technology, particularly AI, is reshaping the guest experience, as discussed in Sage Hospitality's recent podcast. AI-driven business intelligence and analytics tools like chat GPT and AI-powered CRM systems enable hotels to understand guest preferences, personalize marketing, and enhance satisfaction through data-driven decisions. Advanced cybersecurity tools such as Crowdstrike and Abnormal Security safeguard guest data, ensuring a secure environment amidst rising cyber threats. By employing AI assistants and productivity tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, hotels improve staff efficiency, leading to better service and guest satisfaction. Innovative guest-facing technologies like robots for delivery and cleaning and facial recognition for check-ins streamline guest interactions, while voice assistants and large language models offer convenient experiences. Moreover, mobile key technology simplifies check-ins and reduces plastic waste, aligning with environmental goals. Exciting advancements like Apple's Vision Pro VR device promise immersive experiences that can revolutionize sales, training, and guest interactions in the hospitality sector. Embracing technology is vital for enhancing guest experiences, streamlining operations, and driving revenue growth in the hospitality industry. Prioritizing innovation ensures hotels stand out in a competitive market, offering unforgettable experiences that foster guest satisfaction and loyalty.

Thinking of front desk as an Airbnb host

Redefining the front desk as the Airbnb host transforms traditional hotel check-in processes into personalized concierge services, enhancing the guest experience. Kiosks like Stayintouch and Opera Cloud streamline check-ins, allowing staff to focus on building relationships and personalizing stays. AI augments front desk interactions, providing personalized recommendations while preserving human touch. Continued innovation and exploration of new technologies ensure hotels stay competitive, offering unique and memorable guest experiences. This shift towards personalized hospitality emphasizes the importance of embracing innovation and prioritizing guest satisfaction for success in the evolving industry landscape.

Continuous learning is key

Continuous learning is essential for staying relevant and competitive. Effective communication skills are vital in IT support, spanning various mediums like email, phone, video calls, and in-person interactions. Clear communication ensures smooth troubleshooting and client interactions. Given the rapid evolution of IT, professionals must commit to continuous learning to stay updated on new technologies and standards. This dedication ensures their skills remain valuable and current. Biometric technology presents an opportunity to revolutionize the guest experience in hospitality, streamlining check-ins and enhancing security. Embracing such innovations is crucial for improving guest satisfaction and maintaining a competitive edge. Continuous learning, effective communication, and embracing innovation are critical for success in the ever-changing landscape of hospitality and technology. The podcast underscores the importance of adaptability and ongoing education in thriving amidst dynamic business environments.

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Jordan Hollander
Jordan is the co-founder of Hotel Tech Report, the hotel industry's app store where millions of professionals discover tech tools to transform their businesses. He was previously on the Global Partnerships team at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Prior to his work with SPG, Jordan was Director of Business Development at MWT Hospitality and an equity analyst at Wells Capital Management. Jordan received his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management where he was a Zell Global Entrepreneurship Scholar and a Pritzker Group Venture Fellow.